In 2005, Gary Napper – who was the lead designer on Alien Isolation more recently – was working for EA Bright Light developing the video game for Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. He was walking through the office one day when he saw his colleagues watching footage of Gears of War. Speaking to OXM, Napper had this to say.
“The designers had huge smiles of wonder on their faces. The artists all had looks of dread. Some were shaking their heads, others had their arms folded with stern expressions. This was my first ever look at Gears of War. It was gameplay footage, pre-release, and showed a world in the dark with rain drenching every surface, as chunky armoured soldiers ran in a low crouch while lightning flashed around them. I was astounded. I heard the artists talking and it was quickly established that this was the visual quality we had to beat.
It’s safe to say that Harry Potter’s video game scene did not take off quite in the way Marcus Fenix’s did, but we’ll give EA Bright Light an A for effort.
Side note: I remember playing this Harry Potter game as a kid and enjoying it arguably more than I ever enjoyed Gears of War. Sorry. I was a kid who was easily impressed so take that statement with a pinch of salt.